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Teaching Kids Your Family Money Values

Teaching Kids Your Family Money Values | www.TheHeavyPurse.comIn my previous video, I shared the best answer to “I want” which are two words that strike fear in every parent’s heart. Being able to calmly provide an answer that stops tears from morphing into a full-blown tantrum is something you want in your repertoire, not only for your children’s wants but also your own because we never outgrow wanting things. A family save goal is a great start to helping kids understand money needs a purpose. Now you’re ready to move to the next step — your family money values.

The Danger of “No”

One of the first words most kids utter after “Mom” and “Dad” is “No” and for good reason. It’s a word they hear frequently and quickly learn to dislike. It’s also another go-to word when our kids get the “I wants”. We respond with “No. We can’t afford it.” or some variation. Telling our kids “no” isn’t the problem, because we certainly can’t buy them everything they want, but we forget to include the “why” behind the “no”. Kids think we are making an arbitrary decision with our “no” or being unfair or mean because they continue to see us buy things. It doesn’t make sense to them.

Kids grow tired of hearing “no” and can’t wait until they get big and can say “yes” which is what they think you are doing. Perhaps you remember having similar thoughts as a child. Most of us do and we don’t always outgrow that thinking either. This belief can get deeply rooted in our children and lead to mindless and emotional spending as adults because they don’t realize you need to make thoughtful decisions with their money. So what can you do?

Demonstrate How Family Money Values Guide Decisions

I started conversations with Lauren and Taylor about our family money values when they were around six years old. I explained the difference between discretionary and non-discretionary money, focusing our attention on discretionary income because that is the bucket of money we decide how to spend. Knowing your family money values will help guide your decisions and minimize mindless spending.

The girls also know that Mom and Dad think carefully about how we use our discretionary income and we don’t say “no” lightly. It’s a thoughtful decision based upon our priorities and values. Watch my new video on how to have this conversation with your children.

Have you shared your family money values with your children yet?

Shannon

May 11, 2015  •  30 Comments  •  Videos

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Comments

  1. Monday, May 11th, 2015
    Yes, Shannon. This is what I always look forward to doing because kids learn and ask anything they want about money values. I always get ready with anything they want to know because this is one of the important lessons they need to learn now and master later on. Walk the talk is part of this.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, May 14th, 2015
      Absolutely, Jayson. You have to walk, the walk and demonstrate the behaviors you want them to emulate.
  2. Monday, May 11th, 2015
    Excellent piece Shannon. We try to articulate our money values with our children. We tell them about their college funds. We try to explain why we can and can't spend money on certain things. We also try to let them spend some of their own money every once in a while. Hopefully, this will help so that they don't go on a spending binge when they reach 18. A parent can dream, anyway!
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, May 14th, 2015
      Thank you, WG! It sounds like you're doing a great articulating your money values with your kids. We do much of the same and it does make a difference.
  3. Monday, May 11th, 2015
    I love this, Shannon! Our little one is still too young for this, but I'm definitely planning to have discussions like this with her down the road. I also recently read a book called The Opposite of Spoiled that's given me some good ideas for how to help her grow up having a healthy relationship with money. This is such an important topic, and it's definitely one of those things I want to make sure we do well as parents!
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, May 14th, 2015
      Thanks, Dee! I have no doubt you'll be a great financial role model to your daughter. I'll have to check out that book - it sounds great.
  4. Monday, May 11th, 2015
    This post is a fresh reminder of the importance of communicating in your family, especially when it comes to parents and their children. The more children are taught good financial values at home, the better chance they have at succeeding financially. Starting with the family's values is a perfect way to get the conversation going in a positive way that builds unity.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, May 14th, 2015
      Absolutely, Natalie. Having honest conversations with kids around money and how we make decisions around it makes a huge difference in their lives.
  5. Monday, May 11th, 2015
    I'm pretty sure my kids just expect me to say no at this point. They hear it all the time. Granted, they ask for a million things per day.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, May 14th, 2015
      LOL! Yes, little kids will ask for everything, which can get exhausting. As long as they understand "why" is what matters.
  6. Monday, May 11th, 2015
    I used to hear "no, we can't afford it" growing up and all it did was make me want to say yes to everything as an adult. Fortunately, I don't have an issue saying no to my son, but I definitely make sure to explain to him why I say no and he knows the goals that we are working on as a family and over time he has become more accepting of the no today because he realizes it's a yes in the future.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, May 14th, 2015
      I don't think many parents realize how that simple statement can affect kids long-term. All those "no's" lead to many kids growing up to tell themselves and their kids "yes" all the time. It's great that you're making sure your son understands why you have to say "no" and sees the big picture behind it.
  7. Monday, May 11th, 2015
    My wife and I have stopped just buying whatever the kids want and ask for in our weekend adventures. Now each kid gets $10 and they have to budget for their snacks, toys, etc. They also can save the money. Knowing there will be no more money they are getting better and better and budgeting and checking prices and thinking ahead.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, May 14th, 2015
      Love it, Mike! I think it is so important for kids to handle money and learn how to budget, especially in a way that helps learn to appreciate budgets versus disliking them.
  8. Monday, May 11th, 2015
    Sharing money values with your children is so important! I learned so much from my dad that I still remember today even though he is no longer around.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, May 14th, 2015
      Me too, Michelle. It is a beautiful gifts our father's gave us.
  9. Monday, May 11th, 2015
    I got used to hearing "no" too, but they never really said why. Like you said, I think the why is very important! It's even more important than the yes or no.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, May 14th, 2015
      It is more important than the "yes" or "no". Kids need to understand that decisions should not be arbitrarily made.
  10. Monday, May 11th, 2015
    Hi Shannon,

    My daughter is having these teaching moments with her three-year old now. He hasn't had a tantrum yet but he has cried because she says no and insists she call grandma (me) because he knows I'll get whatever he wants. Now that he's older and understands this I don't cave like I used to :).

    Which is why it's important we have the same rules. I know how hard it is to say no to my grandson but if they are going to learn the true value of money he has to hear it from everyone. It would only confuse him about the issue if a parent says no and grandma says yes.

    Thanks for sharing! Have a great week Shannon!

    Cori
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, May 14th, 2015
      Great point, Corina! It is important to get grandparents on the same page with parents. To make sure any indulgences don't undo any important lessons they are teaching their kids. It's great that your being so supportive of your daughter as I am sure that is very hard to not say "yes" to grandchildren all the time! :)
  11. Monday, May 11th, 2015
    You mean "because I said so!" isn't a good enough reason? :) I think that was the one I heard most often. I'm not a parent so I can't say, but I'm guessing a lot of parents lose their patience with their kids asking and don't have the energy to say why, aside from the response of "because I said so," It's great you're able to do that!
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, May 14th, 2015
      LOL! Oh, how I wish, Tonya! It's very true that lots of parents fall back on "because I said so" or "we can't afford it" because it is easy. It does take more time to explain but doing so helps kids connect the dots. These days I don't have even go into an explanation - they already know my answer and why.
  12. Monday, May 11th, 2015
    I do say no quite a bit, but I don't think I've even said "No, we can't afford it." I try to say we don't need it or we would rather spend our money on the goal we've been saving for.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, May 14th, 2015
      There is nothing wrong with saying "no" and it's good that you remember to add the qualifier behind it. Your daughter may still prefer you say "yes" but now she understands there is a reason behind the "no".
  13. Monday, May 11th, 2015
    I think my parents saying "no" to us growing up actually had a big impact on how I view money and, really, my focus on increasing income as a 20-something. They never really explained why, but I was always curious why some people could afford one thing while another family couldn't. I'm still extremely interested in careers, net worth, entrepreneurship, etc. and honestly think it stemmed from the lack of guidance I had on finances growing up.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, May 14th, 2015
      It can be confusing for kids because it does seem arbitrary. Why parents sometimes say "yes" and why other parents can say "yes" when your's cannot. We have lots of talks with the girls about this too, to help avoid the "keeping up" feelings, etc.
  14. Tuesday, May 12th, 2015
    Haha...With four kids I say "No" so much I get worn out by saying it. But you know I'd rather err on the side of saying "No" too much than "Yes" too much. I think there is a greater danger on the saying "Yes" all the time spectrum.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, May 14th, 2015
      Absolutely, Brian. "Yes" all the time can definitely lead to entitled kids, which is a whole different problem. Even when saying "yes" parents should qualify it too. We want kids to understand that we don't make arbitrary decisions with money and give it a purpose.
  15. Wednesday, May 13th, 2015
    When we get the ''I wants'' with our 3 year old I start the conversation with ''I understand you want this but you can't have it...because..' I want her to HEAR me understand it's something she wants- no matter how silly the object is- but have her really listen to me give an explanation as to why she can't have it.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, May 14th, 2015
      Love it, Catherine! It is very important that our kids understand that we respect what they want and hear them. It's very easy for parents to tune-out since young kids typically want everything they see, but knowing that you pay attention and take the time to listen and explain is fantastic and something she will remember.
Shannon Ryan SHANNON RYAN, CFP®
  • Meet Shannon

    "As a Certified Financial Planner, it is my passion to help individuals and families build a healthy relationship with money. I look forward to helping you raise financially confident kids.” - Shannon Ryan
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